By now, most businesses will be aware of search engine marketing (SEM). In case you’re new to the marketing world, we’ll explain. Search engine marketing involves marketing your business with a focus on ranking on search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo etc.). In this day and age, most people are online, and therefore your business must be, too. It isn’t enough to have a really good website and maybe a Facebook Business Page, though, instead you need to consistently optimise your marketing strategies online towards the search engines, so that your target market can find you when searching.
How do you do that, we hear you say? Well, we’re here to help as search engine marketing professionals at SEM Consultants.
For some time now, keywords have been the biggest strategy for gaining attention from search engines. Keyword optimisation through SEO (search engine optimisation) is a way of saying to search engines that you are “this business that deals with this area”. Keywords will be implemented throughout your website, so that when potential customers search on Google “wedding cake shops in Birmingham”, your website will rank at the top of the search results page (SERP).
Be careful, though. Overuse or poor use of keywords will lead to a Google Penalty that restricts your site from appearing on Google. This is Black-hat SEO and should be avoided. Instead, neatly implement keywords where appropriate in your site’s content, that doesn’t take away from user experience and the genuineness of your content.
Keywords can be used in the following areas:
- Titles: on blog posts or web pages
- Descriptions: your meta titles and meta descriptions should try to include keywords (and these will be highlighted when they appear on Google)
- Headings: titles and subtitles within pages or blog posts
- Content: within page content or blog posts, without ruining user experience and appropriate context
- Images: images should be aptly named and ALT tags could include keywords
- URLs: the weblink should include the keywords for optimum results
Pay Per Click
With good use of SEO, you will hopefully organically rank on the SERP of Google, but in order to ensure this happens, you can use Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. You can use the search engines for paid ads that work through keywords. You bid for these keywords, and this will lead to ads that will then appear on the SERP when that keyword or phrase is searched for. Then, when the user clicks the ad, you pay.
This brings your website right to the top of the SERP, putting you right in front of potential customers. In order to do this well, you need: excellent ad copy, knowledgeable bids and keyword research, correct demographic targeting, and constant analysis and adjustments. This is where a professional PPC campaign manager will come in.
You can use Pay Per Click in these ways:
- Google AdWords
- Google Shopping
- Google Remarketing
- Bind Ads
- Bing Product Ads
- Bing Remarketing
- Yahoo Native Ads
Link building is becoming one of the biggest factors that leads to attention from search engines. A link is a way of directing Google’s bots around your site, and also building credibility for it. If your site has a good number of appropriate backlinks from other sites, especially credible/authority sites, then Google will pay attention to it and recognise that it is in association with the right industry (etc.)
Good link building practice includes:
- Anchor text: the anchor text is the writing imbedded in the content that the link is attached to, so both Google and the user will know what the link and page is about.
- Guest blog posts: you can guest post on other people’s blogs in order to gain traffic for yours, as more often than not, at the end of the post, they will link to your site on the author bio.
- Organic links: hopefully your content is relevant and of a quality that encourages organic links from other sites (without you asking them to).
- Linkable content: in order to get these organic links, you will need link-worthy content. This means accurate, informative, engaging, and easily linkable content. Include images, a catching title and share links.
- Ask relevant people: ask people in your industry to link to your site on theirs, showing Google that you, too, are in that area of business.
- Submit to industry directories: this will lead to your site being linked to on the right directories in the right industry where the right audience will be looking.
It will kill your search engine results if you have a poor website. If your site is unnavigable then not only will users be put off, but search engines will be, too. It is becoming important in search marketing for your website to focus on user experience above all else. This means no spammy ads, or keyword overload, or unnecessary pages, or poor content. Put the user first and make your site easy to understand and get around.
How do you do this?
- Appropriate links to other pages on the site
- A menu with keywords or appropriately named titles
- Call to actions
- Good page speeds
- Mobile optimisation
Social media marketing
When optimising your search engine marketing, you can’t forget about social media. Social media marketing is a very popular method of online marketing, and it is also good for search engines. If you put your business on various social media platforms – Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus, etc – then you are doing a few positive things in the way of marketing…
You are gaining credibility for your business, as you are showing you have more presence. You are able to gain links to your site, through sharing your site’s blog posts or putting the link to your site on your social media bios. Social media is a tool that allows for easy sharing and engagement, which is very good for search engines. And you are able to say to search engines that “this is who we are, and here’s the proof.”
Don’t skip on the meta titles and meta descriptions for your content. These are displayed on the SERP on Google when someone makes a search. Not only does this help a user decide whether or not to click on the link to your site, but it also tells Google what that landing page is about. This will help Google to know where to place you, so a good meta title and meta description (try to use keywords, where appropriate) will help you to rank.
Good search marketing will involve a lot of measuring. It is poor practice to make changes or put out content without taking a moment to analyse how you’re doing. This is through Google Analytics, social media analytics like Twitter Analytics, and more. Making use of the plethora of data given will help you to know what works and what doesn’t, and what search engines are liking. Then, you can go forward and make informed adjustments. Plus, Google is ever-changing, so analysis and alterations are crucial in order to keep up and keep ranking.
When linking to pages, sharing pages/posts, or creating a page, you will need to think about what the landing page is saying to the user upon entry. If the landing pages are inaccurate, uninformative or just plain poor, then you will see recurring bounce rates (where a user will leave the site without using it). If Google can see that a landing page doesn’t fit its descriptions or links, then it will see your site as not credible and therefore you won’t rank. Don’t “clickbait” by writing an engaging title that doesn’t fit the landing page or content. This is bad practice and will cause penalties. Instead, always think about what a user gains when they reach a landing page (user experience).
Ultimately, your site will rank on the SERP if you have quality content. Simple as that. If your content is poorly written, riddled with keywords, includes block text, and is incorrect or rife with ads, however, then you are likely to loose your audience – and search engines, too.
Quality content encompasses:
- Blog posts
- Rich page content
- A variety of content (videos, images, infographs and text)
- Call to actions
- Meta titles and descriptions
Optimise content by producing blog posts that are user friendly, informative, relevant to your industry, engaging and rich in SEO. When using videos, be sure to use YouTube and place the link in your content. This is so that Google understands that they go together, and so that when someone is searching, your YouTube video will appear at the top of the SERP. Similarly, if your images are aptly named and include the right ALT tags, they will appear on the Google Images results page. This means that attention to relevant, diverse and quality content will lead to appreciation from search engines, and thus lead to rankings.
If you want to dominate the search engines, then you will need a helping hand from our experts at SEM Consultants. We have content writers, web designers, social media management and PPC management to help take you to the top of the SERP. For more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch.